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Song
A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition and variation of sections. Written words created specifically for music, or for which music is specifically created, are called lyrics. If a pre-existing poem is set to composed music in classical music it is an art song. Songs that are sung on repeated pitches without distinct contours and patterns that rise and fall are called chants. Songs composed in a simple style that are learned informally "by ear" are often referred to as folk songs. Songs that are composed for professional singers who sell their recordings or live shows to the mass market are called popular songs. These songs, which have broad appeal, are often composed by professional songwriters, composers, and lyricists. Art songs are composed by trained classical composers ...
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Folk Song
Folk music is a music genre that includes traditional folk music and the contemporary genre that evolved from the former during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, music that is played on traditional instruments, music about cultural or national identity, music that changes between generations (folk process), music associated with a people's folklore, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond that. Starting in the mid-20th century, a new form of popular folk music evolved from traditional folk music. This process and period is called the (second) folk revival and reached a zenith in the 1960s. This form of music is sometimes called contemporary folk music or folk rev ...
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Songs Without Words
''Songs Without Words'' (') is a series of short lyrical piano works by the Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn written between 1829 and 1845. His sister, Fanny Mendelssohn, and other composers also wrote pieces in the same genre. Music The eight volumes of ''Songs Without Words'', each consisting of six songs (), were written at various points throughout Mendelssohn's life and published separately. The piano became increasingly popular in Europe during the early nineteenth century, when it became a standard item in many middle-class households. The pieces are within the grasp of pianists of various abilities and this undoubtedly contributed to their popularity. This great popularity has caused many critics to under-rate their musical value. The first volume was published by Novello in London (1832) as ''Original Melodies for the Pianoforte'', but the later volumes used the title ''Songs Without Words''. The works were part of the Romantic tradition of writing short lyrical ...
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Art Song
An art song is a Western vocal music composition, usually written for one voice with piano accompaniment, and usually in the classical art music tradition. By extension, the term "art song" is used to refer to the collective genre of such songs (e.g., the "art song repertoire").Meister, ''An Introduction to the Art Song'', pp. 11–17. An art song is most often a musical setting of an independent poem or text, "intended for the concert repertory" "as part of a recital or other relatively formal social occasion". While many pieces of vocal music are easily recognized as art songs, others are more difficult to categorize. For example, a wordless vocalise written by a classical composer is sometimes considered an art song and sometimes not. Other factors help define art songs: *Songs that are part of a staged work (such as an aria from an opera or a song from a musical) are not usually considered art songs.Kimball, p. xiv However, some Baroque arias that "appear with great freque ...
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Form (music)
In music, ''form'' refers to the structure of a musical composition or performance. In his book, ''Worlds of Music'', Jeff Todd Titon suggests that a number of organizational elements may determine the formal structure of a piece of music, such as "the arrangement of musical units of rhythm, melody, and/or harmony that show repetition or variation, the arrangement of the instruments (as in the order of solos in a jazz or bluegrass performance), or the way a symphonic piece is orchestrated", among other factors. It is, "the ways in which a composition is shaped to create a meaningful musical experience for the listener."Kostka, Stefan and Payne, Dorothy (1995). ''Tonal Harmony'', p.152. McGraw-Hill. . These organizational elements may be broken into smaller units called phrases, which express a musical idea but lack sufficient weight to stand alone. Musical form unfolds over time through the expansion and development of these ideas. In tonal harmony, form is articulated prima ...
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Instrumental
An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might include some inarticulate vocals, such as shouted backup vocals in a big band setting. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word song may refer to instrumentals. The music is primarily or exclusively produced using musical instruments. An instrumental can exist in music notation, after it is written by a composer; in the mind of the composer (especially in cases where the composer themselves will perform the piece, as in the case of a blues solo guitarist or a folk music fiddle player); as a piece that is performed live by a single instrumentalist or a musical ensemble, which could range in components from a duo or trio to a large big band, concert band or orchestra. In a song that is otherwise sung, a section that is not sung but which is played by instruments can be called an instrumental interlude, or, if it occurs at the beginning of the song, before the singer starts to sing, an ...
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Popular Song
Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training.Popular Music. (2015). ''Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia'' It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional or "folk" music. Art music was historically disseminated through the performances of written music, although since the beginning of the recording industry, it is also disseminated through recordings. Traditional music forms such as early blues songs or hymns were passed along orally, or to smaller, local audiences. The original application of the term is to music of the 1880s Tin Pan Alley period in the United States. Although popular music sometimes is known as "pop music", the two terms are not interchangeable. Popular music is a generic term for a wide variety of genres of music that appeal to the tastes of a large segment of the population, ...
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Lyrics
Lyrics are words that make up a song, usually consisting of verses and choruses. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist. The words to an extended musical composition such as an opera are, however, usually known as a "libretto" and their writer, as a " librettist". The meaning of lyrics can either be explicit or implicit. Some lyrics are abstract, almost unintelligible, and, in such cases, their explication emphasizes form, articulation, meter, and symmetry of expression. Rappers can also create lyrics (often with a variation of rhyming words) that are meant to be spoken rhythmically rather than sung. Etymology The word ''lyric'' derives via Latin ' from the Greek ('), the adjectival form of ''lyre''. It first appeared in English in the mid-16th century in reference to the Earl of Surrey's translations of Petrarch and to his own sonnets. Greek lyric poetry had been defined by the manner in which it was sung accompanied by the lyre or cithara, as opposed to the chanted formal ...
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Big Band
A big band or jazz orchestra is a type of musical ensemble of jazz music that usually consists of ten or more musicians with four sections: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. Big bands originated during the early 1910s and dominated jazz in the early 1940s when swing was most popular. The term "big band" is also used to describe a genre of music, although this was not the only style of music played by big bands. Big bands started as accompaniment for dancing. In contrast to the typical jazz emphasis on improvisation, big bands relied on written compositions and arrangements. They gave a greater role to bandleaders, arrangers, and sections of instruments rather than soloists. Instruments Big bands generally have four sections: trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and a rhythm section of guitar, piano, double bass, and drums. The division in early big bands, from the 1920s to 1930s, was typically two or three trumpets, one or two trombones, three or four saxoph ...
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A Cappella
''A cappella'' (, also , ; ) music is a performance by a singer or a singing group without Musical instrument, instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. The term ''a cappella'' was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance music, Renaissance polyphony and Baroque (music), Baroque concertato musical styles. In the 19th century, a renewed interest in Renaissance polyphony, coupled with an ignorance of the fact that vocal parts were often doubled by instrumentalists, led to the term coming to mean unaccompanied vocal music. The term is also used, rarely, as a synonym for ''alla breve''. Early history A cappella could be as old as humanity itself. Research suggests that singing and vocables may have been what early humans used to communicate before the invention of language. The earliest piece of sheet music is thought to have originated from times as early as 2000 B.C. while the earliest that has survived in its entirety is from th ...
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Recitative
Recitative (, also known by its Italian name "''recitativo''" ()) is a style of delivery (much used in operas, oratorios, and cantatas) in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms and delivery of ordinary speech. Recitative does not repeat lines as formally composed songs do. It resembles sung ordinary speech more than a formal musical composition. Recitative can be distinguished on a continuum from more speech-like to more musically sung, with more sustained melodic lines. The mostly syllabic ''recitativo secco'' ("dry", accompanied only by continuo, typically cello and harpsichord) is at one end of the spectrum, through ''recitativo accompagnato'' (using orchestra), the more melismatic arioso, and finally the full-blown aria or ensemble, where the pulse is entirely governed by the music. Secco recitatives can be more improvisatory and free for the singer, since the accompaniment is so sparse; in contrast, when recitative is accompanied by orchestra, the singer must per ...
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Song Form
Ternary form, sometimes called song form, is a three-part musical form consisting of an opening section (A), a following section (B) and then a repetition of the first section (A). It is usually schematized as A–B–A. Prominent examples include the da capo aria "The trumpet shall sound" from Handel's ''Messiah'', Chopin's Prelude in D-Flat Major "Raindrop", ( Op. 28) and the opening chorus of Bach's ''St John Passion''. Simple ternary form In ternary form each section is self-contained both thematically as well as tonally (that is, each section contains distinct and complete themes), and ends with an authentic cadence. The B section is generally in a contrasting but closely related key, usually a perfect fifth above or the parallel minor of the home key of the A section (V or i); however, in many works of the Classical period, the B section stays in tonic but has contrasting thematic material. It usually also has a contrasting character; for example section A might be stif ...
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Background Singer
A backing vocalist is a singer who provides vocal harmony with the lead vocalist or other backing vocalists. A backing vocalist may also sing alone as a lead-in to the main vocalist's entry or to sing a counter-melody. Backing vocalists are used in a broad range of popular music, traditional music, and world music styles. Solo artists may employ professional backing vocalists in studio recording sessions as well as during concerts. In many rock and metal bands (e.g., the power trio), the musicians doing backing vocals also play instruments, such as guitar, electric bass, drums or keyboards. In Latin or Afro-Cuban groups, backing singers may play percussion instruments or shakers while singing. In some pop and hip hop groups and in musical theater, they may be required to perform dance routines while singing through headset microphones. Styles of background vocals vary according to the type of song and genre of music. In pop and country songs, backing vocalists may sing harm ...
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